Women In Luke’s Gospel

When the Son of God came to earth, His life and death were unlike anything that had ever happened in human history. The crowds “were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Mark 1:22).” There was something new, different, and alive about His words that they were not accustomed to. It is no surprise that the gospels are also unlike any other pieces of literature ever written. They reflect the distinctiveness of Christ’s life by the distinctiveness of their own style and content. Take for example only a few examples of the focus in Luke’s gospel on women. For his time, this focus was completely unusual.

  • He focuses on the unique relationship between Mary and Elizabeth as they rejoice together and John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb. (Luke 1:41-44)
  • He records Mary’s “Magnificat,” an astounding and beautiful piece of poetry both in the original Greek and in our modern day worship songs. (Luke 1:46-55)
  • He mentions the prophetess Anna and her blessing of Jesus in the temple. (Luke 2:36-38)
  • He records the healing of at least 4 women, including Peter’s mother-in-law. (Luke 4:38-39)
  • He recounts the anointing of Jesus’ feet by a sinful woman, who is forgiven and commended as someone who loves Jesus much. (Luke 7:37-50)
  • He mentions the poor widow who gave two mites out of her poverty to the temple as an example of beautiful giving. (Luke 21:1-4)
  • He faithfully reports that the women in Jesus’ life did not desert him at his crucifixion the way so many of his male followers did. (Luke 23:49)
  • He records that women were the FIRST to find Jesus’ tomb empty (Luke 24:1-3) and that they were the first to tell the disciples. He even admits that these men foolishly didn’t believe the women, but considered this “idle talk” until they had confirmed it for themselves. (Luke 24:9-12)

In today’s culture of tolerance and acceptance, a focus on the contributions of women might seem normal, but in 1st Century Palestine, such a focus was a remarkable reflection of God’s love for all people. God’s word is timeless. At various times various parts may align with the culture of the day, but all of it is always true and beautiful, and it will endure until the end of time. (Isaiah 40:8)

Mary, mother of Jesus